In this Burly Men At Sea PS4 review, we take a detailed look at the bonds of three men on the open sea, then play through multiple times for the Platinum.
Sharing an adventure with a pair of beards would be every bear’s dream, sailing out on the open seas, sirens poking your earholes with their seductive tones or having a race with Death as coxless pairs.
Well, more ménage à troi.
A life at sea, is not for me, but the brief adventures touched upon in Burly Men At Sea, from Brain & Brain Co., are often charming and with a touch of enchantment that makes this a promising title.
So, are we thinking the HMS Beagle or RMS Titanic? Cue theme music…
Burly Men At Sea PS4 Review
The game itself is as ancient as El Mar as it was a freebie from PS+ many many months ago and though I played it for a bit, it was left on the bottom of the sea bed while some faster, much prettier ships arrived.
But as a result of cleaning up my hard drive (not a police investigation), I wanted to free up some space so other than demos and 100s of games I’ve platinumed (yeah, right), the goal was to finish a few before deleting.
To dismiss Burly Men At Sea as storage filler would be cruel as it’s a pleasant game, but probably best suited as a mobile game based on the simplicity of the controls and the presentation.
Though you can get a platinum trophy out of it if you’re up for some grinding, therefore patience is required.
You could argue that this is more an interactive storybook than a game, a bit like Storm Boy to some extent, as you take three brothers on an adventure for a story to tell their peers (or some charlatan hack writer, looking to steal your tales).
More often than not, you’ll be repeating the same paths each time, though altering your response fractionally to open a new direction for the narrative.
Meet The Crew
It’s a tight ship of three but fear not as they’re siblings so know each other pretty well and play to each other’s strengths.
There are three brothers in total: Hasty Beard, Steady Beard and Brave Beard.
Regrettably, Tasty, Tree and Your Mum’s Got A didn’t make the cut.
Each brother has a range of dialogue responses representative of their name as well as their actions, but when it comes to the conversation, there isn’t a choice as it’s text-only – no voice acting.
It doesn’t matter though, as the overall presentation is brilliant and the best storybooks are read, not acted out by someone else. Sorry, Stephen Fry.
Burly Men At Sea employs a little point and click, and you use an on-screen cursor to select NPCs, objects and points of interest, while the left and right analogue sticks move the three (all at the same time, the lemmings) or pan the camera to the left and right respectively.
First impressions are excellent as the art design is beautiful with a simple style, yet engaging enough for you to appreciate the characters.
You Might Need A Map For These Waters
Simplicity is the key here as there aren’t any complicated menus to navigate or combos to learn; instead, a few areas are there for exploring and being in the right place at the right time.
Well, even the latter isn’t really a thing, but you need to be specific in the paths you take when unlocking everything and there’s so much repetition that it looks like you’re doing the same thing again, but it’s a new story.
The dialogue makes up for this and is short, but well written, but without a walkthrough, it’s easy to miss those last couple of endings as the trophy hints aren’t helpful enough.
In one scene, you may decide to wait in the mouth of a whale to reach its destination or exit through its blowhole (steady). Another path will have you throw a branch to a rock-like behemoth or ignore it and get back in your boat.
The choices in the game are often quite subtle, but doesn’t give that much room for experimentation – it’s either one or the other.
Other than locating each possible route, there’s zero difficulty as except for a boat race, the puzzles offer no challenge, and there’s no threat of a game over.
How Long Will I Be At Sea?
Not knowing beforehand that Burly Men At Sea is a game about multiple endings, I took my time and must have taken about half an hour to complete the story the first time (I got stuck on an octopus type thing – literally).
When I realised that I could play the game again for a new ending, within something like 20 minutes, I had completed three – maybe even four times.
Once you’ve completed the first time, you’ll find that each subsequent playthrough will be swifter than the last as you almost always go the same route and usually have one of two paths to take.
Regrettably, if you’re looking to get a platinum trophy for your collection, you’ll have to play through many times and if you make a mistake – like go the wrong route – you have to see it out to the end and start again with no save points.
When it comes to my appraisal, I’d be Hasty Beard here and say it’s better on an iPad (other tablets are available) and more for those looking for a casual experience that isn’t found from a toilet wall.
Because of the lure of a supposedly easy platinum, the completionist in me, and possibly you, will make you want to grind it out and it’s that aspect that ruins the game.
As it’s so quick to complete a playthrough in Burly Men At Sea, you’ll end up doing it all in one go. If you were to take your time and unlock a couple of endings a day, it would add to the longevity, but as the stories don’t dramatically change, it does become a chore.